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Traditionally drawn vs pre-rendered 3D sprites/tiles

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I am going to buy art for my 2D tile based RPG soon. The original plan was use pre-rendered 3D sprites and tiles. Example from "Tactics Arena": http://www.tacticsarena.com/units/. (although I plan to spend a little bit more money to get sprites/tiles that are better quality than those)

However, I have been told that it might be easier, and cheaper, to use traditionally drawn 2D sprites and tiles instead because there are a lot more artists who can "just draw" than there are 3D modelers who has to be able to work with very technical tools.

Is this true? Or a misconception?

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I think you might be putting more thought into how your art is produced than is actually necessary; given your two options are pre-rendered from 3d or true 2d you will be getting 2d files either way, so as long as your assets are all consistent it shouldn't really matter to you which method is used to produce them.

My suggestion would be to produce a clear specification of what you want (the end-product, not how it's made), advertise the job (remembering that in addition to development communities you can try both 2d and 3d communities) and then see who applies. You'll then have the real-world data to make an informed decision: you will be able to choose an artist who is both affordable and produces work of an acceptable quality for your project, and you will also have a good idea of how many artists are available (and what quality their work is) using each method should you need to bring on an additional person.



As to your original question, it's been my experience that there are a great many artists available who can work with either method, although obviously your budget and the specifics of your project will have an impact on how many are actually available to you. Good 2d artwork can be a difficult and potentially time-consuming task, and depending on exactly what is needed and the skills of the artist(s) in question there are plenty of cases where 3d assets of acceptable quality can be produced just as fast if not quicker -- conversely, the specifics of your particular project may very well mean that for you traditional 2d assets will be cheaper.


Don't be concerned with how your artwork is produced -- that's the artist's problem -- be concerned with the quality, the cost, and with ensuring you're able to get it delivered in a usable format that meets your requirements (or in one you can trivially convert yourself).

Hope that helps! smile.png

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I am going to buy art for my 2D tile based RPG soon. The original plan was use pre-rendered 3D sprites and tiles. Example from "Tactics Arena": http://www.tacticsarena.com/units/. (although I plan to spend a little bit more money to get sprites/tiles that are better quality than those)

However, I have been told that it might be easier, and cheaper, to use traditionally drawn 2D sprites and tiles instead because there are a lot more artists who can "just draw" than there are 3D modelers who has to be able to work with very technical tools.

Is this true? Or a misconception?


Holy crap, you have played TAO?

I almost never see anyone on forums other than the official TAO ones or clan sites who knows what it is.

My bad for being off topic. Its just surprising.

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Holy crap, you have played TAO?


Hahaha. I played the free flash demo version ("Tactics Core") on Newgrounds. Tried TAO but never really got into it.


I think you might be putting more thought into how your art is produced than is actually necessary; given your two options are pre-rendered from 3d or true 2d you will be getting 2d files either way, so as long as your assets are all consistent it shouldn't really matter to you which method is used to produce them.


Isn't the art at, say http://www.tacticsarena.com/ (pre-rendered 3D) distinctly different from, say http://maplestory.nexon.net/ (traditionally drawn)? I am trying to determine which "look" to go for, based on general costs and artist availability.

I have been googling what other indie games are doing, and so far its seems that successful indie games use pixel or "traditionally drawn" graphics. E.g. Braid, Castle Crashers etc. Because of this, I am leaning towards 2D "traditionally drawn" graphics.

To be honest, this is the first time I had to commission original art for my project. Been using free art, drawing my own or making tributes/parodies of other games. I might have mess up the "lingo" a little: I was referring to pre-rendered 3D sprites like in Baldur's Gate, vs 2D sprites (pixels?) as in Wesnoth. Please correct my lingo if you can. Learning as I go along... :P

Your advice helped a lot. Thanks!

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